Keisha Lance Bottoms (Courtesy Atlanta City Council)

Dist. 11 Atlanta City Councilmember Keisha Lance Bottoms has been hired as the new executive director of the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority (AFCRA), and the chairman of the Fulton County Commission is crying foul.

Bottoms will be in charge of the authority that oversees Turner Field, Philips Arena, Zoo Atlanta and other facilities.

Commission Chairman John Eaves released this statement after discovering that Violet Ricks was removed as executive director of the authority.

“It has come to my attention that Ms. Violet Travis Ricks was removed as Executive Director of the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority. I received this piece of news with equal amounts of dismay and concern. I have no choice but to publicly express my opposition to it. The taxpayers of our county demand accountability and transparency from those of us elected to serve them. My concern is this move provides them with neither. The hiring of a sitting City Council Member hired as a full time employee, as I understand it, in Ms. Ricks place was not done as part of a transparent open process. There was no interview by the Authority nor was the position advertised. When former City Councilmember Davetta Johnson Mitchell was selected to head the Authority, she was required to resign from City Council. AFCRA is an entity charged with being a good, nonpartisan steward of taxpayers’ funds. It is responsible for making facilities decisions in the public interest. Paying a political figure to oversee the board smacks of cronyism and is extraordinarily questionable. Neither I, nor our County Attorney, was consulted in advance and have not received any form of communication from AFCRA.”

Bottoms told Creative Loafing that she has no intention of resigning from her city council seat, but would refrain from voting on authority matters.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.